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4 posts categorized "Lakeville"

January 26, 2012

Poll time (a day late) and Dodge County note

Posted by: Feldman

Sorry, I'm late by a day with the polls. 

We'll get to them in a minute, but, first, here's a link to a short article in today's P-B on the state of the Dodge County boys hockey program. It's been a rough season for the Wildcats (2-14-0), but the future is brighter. They have more than a dozen players coming up from a good Bantam team next season and all three of their captains will be back. Here's a link to today's article; you can read the whole thing if you're a subscriber.

Now, onto this week's polls, from Let's Play Hockey magazine.

Lourdes remains No. 10 in the boys Class A poll, while the Red Wing girls fell one spot to No. 9 in Class A. The Mankato East girls held steady at No. 11. The Hermantown boys and Breck girls remain at No. 1 in the Class A polls.

In AA, the Minnetonka boys have moved into the top spot after dismantling the previous No. 1, Duluth East, last Saturday in a Hockey Day Minnesota game. East dropped to No. 2. Lakeville South, at No. 15, is the only Section 1 team in the poll. In the girls Class AA poll, Benilde-St. Margaret's is No. 1, while Section 1 teams Lakeville North (No. 8) and South (No. 10) are in the top 10.

All of this week's polls:

CLASS A
BOYS
1. Hermantown
2. St. Thomas Academy
3. Breck
4. Duluth Marshall
5. Thief River Falls
6. East Grand Forks
7. Totino-Grace
8. St. Cloud Cathedral
9. Mahtomedi
10. Rochester Lourdes
11. Blake
12. Warroad
13. Little Falls
14. Delano/Rockford
15. Hibbing/Chisholm
16. Rogers
17. Duluth Denfeld
18. Orono
19. Mound-Westonka
20. International Falls

GIRLS

1. Breck
2. Warroad
3. South St. Paul
4. Thief River Falls
5. Orono
6. Blake
7. Mound-Westonka
8. Chisago Lakes
9. Red Wing
10. Rogers
11. Mankato East
12. Crookston
13. Visitation
14. Hutchinson
15. Hibbing/Chisholm
16. Henry Sibley
17. Simley
18. East Grand Forks
19. Alexandria
20. International Falls
(tie). Mahtomedi 

* * * * *

CLASS AA
BOYS
1. Minnetonka
2. Duluth East
3. Maple Grove
4. Eagan
5. Edina
6. Benilde-St. Margaret's
7. Moorhead
8. Eden Prairie
9. Wayzata
10. Hill-Murray
11. Grand Rapids
12. Blaine
13. Burnsville
14. Andover
15. Lakeville South
16. Centennial
17. Elk River
18. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton
19. Roseau
20. Roseville Area
(tie). Brainerd 

GIRLS

1. Benilde-St. Margaret's
2. Anoka
3. Hill-Murray
4. Minnetonka
5. Roseville
6. Edina
7. Elk River
8. Lakeville North
9. Eagan
10. Lakeville South
11. White Bear Lake
12. Mounds View
13. Irondale
14. Stillwater
15. Andover
16. Hopkins
17. Chaska/Chanhassen
18. Centennial
19. North Wright County
20. Blaine

December 02, 2011

High School Hockey | Thursday Night Playback

Posted by: Feldman

Thursday night treated Rochester high school hockey teams much better than Tuesday. Mayo, Century and JM went a combined 0-2-1 on Tuesday night. Thursday, Lourdes, JM and Century combined to go 3-0-0. They won by a combined 18 goals and a combined score of 21-3.

Here are links to the stories (click on the scores to take you to the P-B stories):

Lourdes 8, Red Wing 0: The No. 5-ranked Eagles were fast out of the gate and never let the Wingers have much hope. Lourdes led 4-0 after one. Red Wing put a bit of a flurry together in the first six minutes of the second, but Lourdes popped in a couple quick goals after that, and it was over at that point. Lourdes just had too much speed for the Wingers, up and down the lineup. As Wingers coach Mike Belisle said, "Speed kills."

It was a very good performance by Lourdes, a great way to start the season. The good news for the coaching staff is that there are still things to work on. The Eagles were 1-for-5 on the power play and struggled early to keep the puck in the zone with a man advantage. Red Wing also missed a couple of chances that faster teams might capitalize on.

But that's being nitpicky after an 8-0 win. One thing that I can't remember if I put in my game story was a comment about the play of junior forward Ben Weir. He played a very strong, aggressive game in both ends. He was more physical than I remember him being a year ago. That line -- with Ryan Nicolay centering Weir and Connor Nellans -- was really good throughout the night. I believe it ended up with only two points (a goal and an assist from Nicolay), but they did a great job of keeping the Wingers top line neutralized.

---

JM 7, Bloomington Kennedy 1: Five Rockets had three points each as they earned their first win of the season, and the first under new head coach Jay Ness. 

Ness had good things to say about JM's lineup, up and down, from starting goalie Jimmy Casazza earning his first win of the year, to the strong play of the entire defensive group (limiting Kennedy to 19 shots).

As far as the offensive outburst, Ness was very pleased with the Rockets' balance. Yes, five guys had three points (Alex McGinn, Nick Paulson, Hunter Heightland, Alex Lovett and Jared Bromberg), but a total of eight players got on the scoresheet.

JM plays host to St. Paul Johnson on Saturday and I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine we'll see junior Jacob Garvey back in goal for the Rockets. Again, just guessing, but I'd suspect Garvey and Casazza will rotate until one of them really siezes the job. If they both continue to perform at a high level, that's a bonus for the Rockets. One of the things Ness told me prior to the season was, a team cannot get through a season with just one goalie. It looks like the Rockets might have two to choose from. 

---

Century 6, Farmington 2: Like JM, Century earned its first victory of the season and the first under new head coach Josh Klingfus

The Panthers veterans really stepped up tonight and produced. Nick Jacobs, a senior co-captain, had four points. Brandon Kautz, another senior co-captain, had three assists. For a second consecutive game, forwards Isaac St. Marie and Dalton Travis had two goals each. Sophomore Hayden Ashworth netted his first varsity goal, and freshman Jake Roth had an assist (as did junior D Matt Sturchio).

Century peppered the Tigers net, outshooting Farmington 43-21. 

It was a nice bounce-back win for Century, after facing two very good opponents (No. 16 White Bear Lake and defending section champ Lakeville North) to start the season.

Century now has a week to prepare for its Big Nine Conference opener, next Thursday against Faribault at the Rec Center.

---

AROUND THE AREA: Either Mankato East has improved defensively, or Mankato West really did lose a majority of its talent from a year ago. West beat East by a score of just 4-0 on Thursday. ... In a matchup of Section 1A teams, Northfield proved it's a team to watch. The Trojans went to Albert Lea City Arena -- not an easy place to play -- and thumped the Tigers, 7-2. Tyler Grave had a hat trick for Northfield. ... Skyler Grossell and Ryan Grant each had two goals and an assist for Winona in a 5-0 win against La Crosse Logan. Winona will take a 2-0-0 record into its Big Nine Conference opener against Mankato West on Saturday.

November 29, 2011

High school hockey tonight | Nov. 29, 2011

Rochester teams get going in full force (well, 3/4 force, as Lourdes doesn't open until Thursday) tonight. There are two games in town -- Mayo and Century are both at home -- and JM travels to Section 1AA foe Farmington. Here's a quick look at tonight's three games:
JOHN MARSHALL at FARMINGTON
When: 7:15 p.m.
Where: Schmitz-Maki Arena, Farmington
Records: JM 0-0, Farmington 0-0
Coaches: JM, Jay Ness; Farmington, Keith Revels
About the Rockets: JM opens its season -- the first under new head coach Jay Ness -- against the team that ended its season a year ago. Farmington beat JM, 6-1, in a Section 1AA quarterfinal game at the Rec Center back in late February. JM is a much different team since then, with eight players lost to graduation. ... The Rockets I'm interested to watch early this season are the three juniors who make up the team's top line -- Gavin SandwickHunter Heightland and Alex Lovett. Those three combined for 49 points last season (including 29 by Sandwick), yet they'll be asked to play an even more prominent role this year.
About the Tigers: The Tigers went 14-13-0 last season, losing to Lakeville South, 7-0, in the Section 1AA semifinals. ... Three of the team's top four scorers last season are gone, including forward Tyler Grubb, who finished with 52 points, including 27 goals. ... Farmington still has some firepower. Senior F Andrew Peterson, last year's second-leading scorer (36 points) is back, as is junior F Grant Hauswirth (19 points). The Tigers also have their top goalie back from last season, senior Victor Simones. He went 11-8-0 with an .893 save pct. ... The Tigers open their season with six consecutive games against Section 1AA opponents. Five of those six are against Big Nine Conference teams.
RED WING at MAYO
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Graham Arena I
Records: Red Wing 0-0, Mayo 0-0
Coaches: RW, Mike Belisle; Mayo, Lorne Grosso.
About the Wingers: The big area of interest for the Wingers is in goal. How do they replace three-year starter Sam Amendolar? They have two goalies on the varsity roster -- junior Preston Blaney and sophomore Jack Burkle. Blaney is the only goalie with varsity experience, and that is limited. He played one game last season, allowing four goals on 26 shots in a loss against Shakopee. If we've come to learn anything about Red Wing, though, it's that what you see in November isn't going to be what you see in late February. Whether they start off well or not so well, this is a team that will improve as the season goes along. ... This is the first of two trips to Rochester this week for the Wingers; they face Lourdes on Thursday at Graham I. 
About the Spartans: The Mayo bench will be an odd site. For what is believed to be only the third or fourth time in program history, Lorne Grosso will not be on the bench as the team's head coach (Grosso also took a one-year sabbatical in the late 1980s). Grosso underwent quadruple bypass surgery on Monday and will be out for a month or more. The Spartans are in good hands, though, with assistants Bob Haskins and Todd Huyber taking over. I'm guessing senior Michael DeBusman will start in goal. After playing sparingly behind Alex VanGalder last season, it's now DeBusman's turn to show if he can seize the starting job. Junior Case Hanson and sophomore Chase Utley will likely get their chances as well, but I'm guessing DeBusman gets the first shot.
LAKEVILLE NORTH at CENTURY
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Rochester Rec Center
Records: North 0-0, Century 0-1.
Coaches: North, Trent Eigner; Century, Josh Klingfus.
The matchup: Something tells me this isn't the last time these teams will meet this season. They've met on an almost annual basis in the postseason for nearly a decade. And one of the two has represented Section 1AA at state every year but one since 2002 (Lakeville High School went in 2002, 03 and 04, before it split into North and South). 
About the North Panthers: Both of these teams are under first-year head coaches. Eigner takes over for Randy Schmitz, who was forced out because of parent pressure over the summer. Eigner inherits some talented players, but one who is not back is goalie Charlie Lindgren, who nearly single-handedly carried North to a fifth-place finish at the Class AA state tournament last spring. North's players to watch are forwards Blake Winiecki and Charlie Hayes. They were the team's top two scorers a year ago (with 52 and 29 points, respectively). 
About the Century Panthers: Century did a lot of good things in a season opening 6-2 loss to No. 18 White Bear Lake on Saturday. But one brief stretch late in the second period turned a 2-1 deficit into a 5-1 deficit. If the Panthers can learn from that, they'll be fine against North. ... Century's top two lines generated a number of scoring chances against WBL that they did not convert. Both of Century's goals in the loss came from defensemen. If they can get those top two forward lines off to a strong start tonight, that will give those forwards some confidence. They're going to need a lot of points out of those lines this season to be successful.

February 27, 2011

H.S. Hockey | Section Semifinal Saturday rewind

Good Sunday afternoon, all.

Thanks to those of you who joined me for the live blogs from Section Semifinal Saturday at the Rec Center yesterday. If you would like to read a replay of any of the live blogs from yesterday, they can all be found here.

If you can't make it to Thursday's Section 1A final between Lourdes and New Prague, I'll be back on the live blog at 6:45 p.m. Just log on to PostBulletin.com and click the link on the homepage. Or, you can go to the link I provide above.

* * *

After three-and-a-half months of hockey, the Section 1A and 1AA tournaments are down to the teams that we thought would be here.

In 1AA, we'll have a rematch of last year's all-Lakeville section title game. A year ago, North upset top-seeded South to get to the state tournament. Can the Panthers do it again? They've lost to South twice already this season, by three goals each time. Second-seeded North's best shot at a second consecutive upset of No. 1 seed South is to stop the high-powered scoring trio of Justin Kloos, Drew Brevig and Alex Harvey.

North and South are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Friday at the Rochester Rec Center for the section championship. ... Maybe later this week we'll get into the whole issue of two Lakeville schools having to come to Rochester to play in a section final.

In 1A, No. 3-ranked and top-seeded Rochester Lourdes is back in position to go to state for a third consecutive season. Standing in their way: third-seeded New Prague.

The Eagles will make their fourth consecutive appearance in the section title game. They lost three years ago to Mankato West and beat Red Wing each of the past two years. The Eagles advanced to this year's section final by ending the Wingers season for a third straight year, 4-2, on Saturday. New Prague advanced to the tite game with a 4-1 win against Albert Lea.

Lourdes and New Prague will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Rec Center. If New Prague plays like it did in the first period on Saturday, it will give Lourdes all it can handle. These teams have some history, too, which we'll get into more as the week goes on. Lourdes has knocked New Prague out of the playoffs each of the past three years, and each time in the section semifinal round.

* But, back to Saturday's games at the Rec. It's usually one of the most entertaining days of the hockey season around here, but none of the four games on Saturday provided much drama or excitement. The building was never more than half full, either, and there wasn't a single band there all day. The atmosphere was flat and that, I believe, had an impact on several teams.

Both of the Section 1AA games were effectively over after the first period. North led Century 4-0 after one period, scoring twice in the final 2 minutes of the period to zap any momentum Century had gained. South led Farmington 3-0 after one and outshot the Tigers 25-2 in the first 17 minutes. Both games resulted in 7-0 final scores.

Century players said they had a good practice on Friday, after an emotional victory Thursday night against rival Mayo. Century actually had good energy right off the bat, but the Panthers had some miscues they couldn't afford.

First, they took four penalties in the first period. North only scored on one power play, but it kept many of Century's top players on the ice in penalty killing situations. It was energy Century couldn't afford to use. Second, Century gave up too many odd-man rushes. I counted five in the first period alone, and at least three of those were the direct result of North forwards blocking shots by Century d-men near the blue line.

A number of Century players were visibly hurting (emotionally) after the game, especially several underclassmen, who had a strong bond with this group of seniors. It was a tough year for Century, with so many players battling injuries and illnesses.

Senior Matt Mills unfortunately had injuries cost him a good portion of the season, including the playoffs. Junior Blake Heroff was in and out of the lineup all season with a nasty hip injury. He rested and iced it as much as he could; he'll have surgery about a month from now. I've been told it's the same injury that cost former Century goalie Alex Kangas his season with the Gophers this year.

The gratifying part of this season for the Century coaching staff has been the past couple of weeks, watching how some seniors were playing their best hockey (coach Bruce Frutiger gave a big nod to d-man Joe Canakes, who had a huge goal in the first period of the Mayo game). We sure can't forget d-man Nick Raehsler or goalie Cam Sellnow. Those guys have been a big part of the program for three years; both played in the state tourney as sophomores and were there game-in, game-out this season, doing what the coaches asked.

* OK, on to the Section 1A side.

The Lourdes-Red Wing game was close for a couple of periods, but with the way Lourdes was playing defense, I never got the feeling that the Eagles were in jeopardy.

Coach Josh Spaniol could sense the Eagles were a bit flat when he entered the locker room before warmups, but, he said, they were able to fight through it. Jason Samuelson had two goals, one set up nicely by Alex Funk. Senior D Rory Vesel also had a nice individual effort on his unassisted goal in the second period. And Andy Benner got Lourdes on the board with a nice play while forechecking at the end of a penalty kill. He took the puck away from a Wingers player, skated in and beat Red Wing goalie Sam Amendolar five-hole.

In the other 1A final, New Prague jumped on Albert Lea early and the Big Nine Conference-champion Tigers never really recovered. The Trojans scored twice in the first five minutes of the game, then Curt Brezina scored twice in a five-minute span early in the second for a 4-0 lead.

Albert Lea had some good chances, and actually tied New Prague with 34 shots on goal in the game, but either the Tigers shot the puck high or wide, or Trojans goalie Joe Morris robbed them.

Morris could be the great equalizer in Thursday's section final. He was outstanding in the first period against Albert Lea. Had he not been at his best, that could have been a 2-2 game after one; then who knows what happens.

When the teams met in the regular season, Lourdes beat New Prague, 3-1, at Graham Arena, back on Dec. 7. Lourdes scored twice in the final 4:12 of the first period that day, both on the power play, and never trailed. Both teams put 21 shots on goal in that game. Both teams are obviously playing better now than they were at that time, but based on what we saw Saturday, I'd expect another close game on Thursday.